Brexit and Organic Certification - the need to know
Brexit and Organic Certification
Keeping you informed
Having consulted with our licensees and trade stakeholders, we're very aware of the uncertainties and concerns surrounding organic trade in the post-Brexit environment. As the UK’s largest organic certifier, where possible, we want to reassure and support businesses in making important commercial decisions in the coming months.
With no final confirmation of a Brexit deal ahead of the revised exit date, we have continued to explore solutions in anticipation of no deal.
Implications of a no deal Brexit for organic businesses
The UK Government Technical Paper on Organic Production and Labelling released in August provides some clarity on what will happen should the UK leave the EU without a deal. Since August, Soil Association Certification have been in regular communication with DEFRA, representing our licensees concerns and seeking clarity on critical trade issues.
Keep up to date with the latest information relating to key aspects of organic trade in the event of no deal.
Will standards and control of organic be affected?
If the UK leaves the EU without a deal, we would continue to maintain existing high standards and control bodies would continue certifying UK organic operators for UK trade.
New organic food & farming statutory instruments AG02 and AG15 have now been debated by both government houses and voted through. A new regulation means some other important changes:
Soil Association Certification will be adapting all UK organic food and farming licences to incorporate requirements of regulation (EC) 1235/2008 to allow ongoing access to the EU organic market. This will mean operators will still need to comply with the Defra operated UK organic standards as well as the EU Commission’s scheme, which is necessary to ensure all operators have access to the EU market.
Minor changes will be made to both our standards and your certification documents. Once the UK leaves the EU, licensees should ask for a new copy of their certificate and trading schedule if they are trading with companies within the EU.
What will change for those exporting to the EU?
The UK organic certification system will no longer be recognised by the EU, so UK certifiers must apply to the EC for individual approval under (EC) regulation 1235/2008. Until UK certifiers gain this approval it will not be possible to export organic product to the EU.
Although UK certifiers may not make a formal application until the UK becomes a third country, all UK certifiers are currently seeking advice from the EC Commission as to whether requisite applications and dossiers can be forwarded for consideration in advance of the 31st October.
What if I am importing products into the UK from the EU?
The UK will continue to recognise products from the EU, EEA and Switzerland for a time-limited period, starting from the date of exit and ending 31st December 2020.
Take a look at the importing section of our FAQ's for more detail.
Product from the EU (and EEA states) won’t require any checks at point of entry, unless there is a specific integrity risk identified for a particular raw ingredient. There will be no need for Certificates of Import (COIs) or other paperwork to be completed. DEFRA will continue to work closely with the UK certifiers on the future implementation of the UK regulation.
And importing products into the UK from outside the EU ?
Whilst the UK transitions Commission Regulation (EC) No 1235/2008 to UK law, the UK will continue to recognise products from all 13 EU approved third countries and from other third countries where the certifier of the product has EN1235 approval to certify to EU regulations in the country of export.
Importers should continue to use TRACESNT system until UK exit, then move across to UK interim paper-based Certificate of Import for consignments arriving into the UK from outside the EU after UK exit.
Take a look at the importing section of our FAQ's for more details on changes to documents or procedures.
Will there need to be changes to labelling for export and the UK market?
There are a number of issue which will effect product labelling, should we exit without a deal.
Where can I get further general information on Brexit?
For agriculture and food businesses who'd like more general information on no deal preparation for business, including port clearance, EORI and product licences, the government have published guidance in the form of a short video on YouTube.
Find out more from the UK government about:
Join our Brexit Webinar on the 23rd September
Our CEO, Martin Sawyer invites you to join our Organic Brexit webinar, at midday on the 23rd of September, during which Martin will provide and update to organic businesses. If you have not already registered and would like to join, please register for the webinar using this link.